Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “Estes Park”

Close to Home

When I see something in the news about a tsunami in faraway lands, I have compassion for the victims, but the victims are strangers to me and I have never been to those places.

When there is a natural disaster, such as tornadoes in the Midwest or hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, or wildfires in the West, I can relate better.  The victims are Americans, like me.  Maybe I have been to the location of the disaster.  Maybe I have friends or family in the area.

But enough about people I don’t know.  Now let’s talk about me, me, me.

Now the news is showing the clean-up from the flooding in northern Colorado.  This is my neighborhood.  I have been on those roads now destroyed, like Highway 34 up the Big Thompson Canyon to Estes Park.  I can’t get to Estes now.  I love going to Estes Park.  It is a beautiful little tourist town in the mountains, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park.  We camped there this summer.  My wife did an art show there in June.  We have been to the stores shown on the news as being flooded. We live in the very same county.

We have family members in Boulder and Longmont.  They were not harmed, yet we worried until we learned that.

I called a lawyer friend last week to see how he was doing because he lives in an area that is a mountain valley.  Last summer, his family was evacuated during the High Park fire.  This year his family was not evacuated, but his home was damaged by some of the flooding.  Still, they stayed.  The road to his house is not a priority in the rebuilding efforts.  He was told that it might not be repaired for a year.  In the meantime, he literally has to use a ladder to cross a washed out section of the road that is now an open crevice in order to get to a car he parks on the road.  He has to hike quite a ways to get to that car.  For a year?

We have been to his home.  It is in a lovely setting.  I understand why they moved there.  Now I have difficulty grasping how they can stay there, cut off from vehicle access.

There are many stories like that.  Worse stories.  True stories.

The people who lost everything in a tsunami can feel compassion for families like my friend’s, and probably do.  Even so, Colorado is a faraway place to them.

I guess you had to be there.

It helps to remember that God, who knows when a sparrow falls from a tree, is here and was there with the people in the tsunamis, the hurricanes, the tornadoes, the wildfires, and the floods.  For nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Big Racks

While visiting relatives in Texas a few years ago, we ate at a restaurant called Big Racks BBQ.  The name apparently refers to barbequed racks of ribs they serve.  Sugar’s brother Mike took us there, probably because of the sign to the right, which incorporates a red neon elk rack,  to remind us of Colorado.

In Estes Park, Colorado, elk are abundant.  They walk along roads and are a problem on the golf course.

Sugar took this photo of an elk with a big rack when we were in Estes this past weekend.  It is not neon.  It is the real thing.

Snow Day II

Today is a snow day too, i.e., Snow Day 2.

snowybirdbath

They measured 12″ in town, but we got more.  Estes Park got 24″.  We got somewhere in between those amounts.

Our place is a mile from the highway.  Highway 287 is closed for about a 50 mile stretch, from Poudre Canyon, west of Fort Collins, to Laramie, Wyoming.  We live in between.

Miss Sugar has a doctor appointment at 3:00 p.m.  With the highway closed and all, I advised her to get an early start.  I even let her use my snowshoes.

Since she had to bundle up anyway, she might as well feed the livestock on her way out.  And take some pictures for me to share with my readership.

I’ve got my work cut out for me already.  I need to put another log on the fire.

pronghornsinsnow

Miss Sugar actually took the photo of these pronghorns from a window in our house today.  Click on the picture to enlarge it.  For many more images, check out her website http://www.coloradoranchphotos.com.

Home on the Range

Here is a riddle.  What is both old and new?  What was built in the 1800s and by me?

The answer is that our home, which was old, became “new” through an unusual process and sequence of events.

 President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which allowed settlers to claim 160 acres of land and eventually own it after meeting the requirements of the law by staying on the land a requisite number of years. 

Pursuant to the Homestead Act, a log cabin was built on an original homestead in the area of what is now Estes Park, Colorado.  Later the homesteaders built a larger log house.  I did not build the cabin or the house, nor did I claim the homestead.  Someone else did all that before I was born. 

What I did was rescue those buildings when a developer purchased the last eight acres of what had been a 160 acre homestead.  Over the years, the homestead was cut up into parcels that became valuable parts of the Village of Estes Park.  The last eight acres were across from a golf course and up the street from the high school and the fairgrounds.  It became a desirable spot for building condos across from the golf course, or so the developer thought.

The Village of Estes Park interfered with his plans when the board refused to approve a demolition permit for the log structures on the old homestead site, which was probably unconstitutional since the homestead had not been designated an historic landmark.  The developer offered to donate the buildings to the town if it would move them off his land.  “Put them in a park if you like them so much,” he told the board.

Around that time, I came along.  As self-proclaimed King of the Wild Frontier, I offered to move the buildings to my land, which is in the same county as Estes Park, on the condition  that the Larimer County building inspectors would look at the buildings as they stood in Estes and pre-approve me for moving them to our ranch.  I knew we needed a new foundation and new plumbing and electric and new roof and new windows, and I knew we could not move the 30 foot high stone fireplace and chimney, but I wanted the structure of the logs approved.  I did not want to be told after moving them that the beams were not engineered correctly or according to current codes.

Well, the building inspectors did approve my proposal and the developer was glad to get me to do the removal, which turned out to be a complicated project.   That is when I became a contractor. 

I took a friend of mine to see the buildings before I made the deal, to ask if he thought it was worth doing.   He had moved a cabin out of the mountains himself, which he used as the core of a house he built.  An old cowboy, Ray offered, “Me and Brian could move them for you.”

Brian had just graduated from high school.  A rodeo bullrider, he was a big help as an acrobat tearing down the steeply peaked roof.  Ray and Brian and another guy lived in the original cabin while they took apart the larger one log by log.  I rented a crane for the job.  They numbered the logs. for each wall in order to put the walls back together in the same order.  It took from November 1992 until February 1993 to take it apart and get it off the Estes property. 

The small cabin was not disassembled.  It was jacked up and moved intact, then placed on a new foundation.  The big house was moved by log trucks.  It was too wide and tall and heavy to be moved in one piece.

Then the fun began of putting them back together.  I will write about the rest of the process in serial style.

Post Navigation